Review Round Up #30

PlugInMusic.com's Review Round Up feature provides five quick-fire music reviews on a weekly basis. This edition includes PJ Harvey's "When Under Ether," Girls Don't Cry's "Girls Don't Cry," Flatbed Ford's "Hangups And Holdouts," Sika's "The Phenomenon," and Paper Rival's "Paper Rival."

When Under Ether

PJ Harvey
“When Under Ether”
(Universal Island Records 2007)

Albeit brief, the single for PJ Harvey's "When Under Ether" includes not only two tracks but an eight question interview. The single's title track is the soft and eerily numb yet intriguing "When Under Ether" while "Wait" is a rough and loose recording that will appeal to those fans that have to hear everything. The closing interview is interesting and somewhat lengthy despite being repetitive.

Sounds Like: Both polished and rough PJ Harvey plus an interview

Key Tracks: "When Under Ether"

B+

Girls Don't Cry
“Girls Don't Cry”
(Self-Released 2007)

Overdone and caked on like make up on your favorite drunkem one night stand, Girls Don't Cry's three song promotional/demo EP has its moments. Adding some electronics to their straight forward rock sound, Girls Don't Cry are brash and confident as they bring to mind '80s girl groups like The Go-Go's. But there is just something likable about these girls which hint at their potential. After all, when you strip away the overdone power to the underlying structure you can hear where they were trying to go.

Sounds Like: A modern take on The Go-Go’s

Key Tracks: "Cobain"

C+
Hangups And Holdouts

Flatbed Ford
“Hangups And Holdouts”
(Self-Released 2007)

Central Pennsylvania's Flatbed Ford's debut album "Hangups And Holdouts" is heavy. Rough and heavy handed, the band fly through their seven songs, which seem to have a mind of their own that quickly spiral out of the band's control. Everything Flatbed Ford plays seems to come out heavier than they mean to but this is not hard rock by any stretch. Besides, who needs balance when "Hangups And Holdouts" has heart?

Sounds Like: Blue collar rock ‘n’ roll

Key Tracks: "Hangups And Holdouts"

C
buy it!
The Phenomenon

Sika
“The Phenomenon”
(Burning Rose Records 2007)

It is easy to see where Sika wants to go on their EP "The Phenomenon." The band aims for a light and airy sound that soars weightlessly. But Sika also wants an edgy sound to challenge the soft and delicate. Somewhere between ambient and world music, the band tries to infuse some rock into their electronica. But "The Phenomenon" is uneven and occasionally confusing as it tries to do too much and draws the focus, unintentionally, to weaker portions of their music.

Sounds Like: New age meets futuristic spin on electronic rock

Key Tracks: "Asleep Again"

C-
Paper Rival

Paper Rival
“Paper Rival”
(Photo Finish Records 2007)

Smooth, soft and free flowing melodies run rampant on Paper Rival's self-titled EP. The Paper Rival stays in control and maintains a clean and simple sound that keeps your ears on Jake Rolleston's vocals. But the delicate songs are balanced with steady rhythms that pop against the easy, understated instrumentation that builds to a swell on each track.

Sounds Like: Indie rock with a soft side

Key Tracks: "A Fox in the Garden"

B
buy it!